BERLIN (Monitoring Desk): You can easily travel wherever you wish to on a small budget with low-cost airlines, but at great cost to the environment, and, not in the most comfortable or dignified manner.
Is it not more romantic and elegant to fall asleep on a train and wake up in a new city? Night trains crisscrossing the European continent make it happen – and they don’t cost as much as you think.
The classic night train experience
For first-timers, you can’t get more classic than the Austrian railway’s Nightjet, which offers sleeping cars and couchette cars on a variety of lines across much of western Europe. It’s easier than ever to fall asleep in Berlin and wake up in Vienna or to board in Munich and travel through the Alps into Rome, Milan or Venice.
The Nightjet route network is available online as a map and is expected to grow in the coming years, expanding farther west.
The Austrian Federal Railways (OBB) also has cooperation agreements with other railways, which allows it to offer EuroNight trains on its website. Many travelers choose to visit countries east of Austria like Poland, Hungary or Croatia amongst others.
From the North Sea to the Alps
Taking a train is a slower, better way of getting to know a country than flying in and out of its major hubs. The privately run Alpen-Sylt Nachtexpress, lets passengers really get to know Germany. It starts from the North Sea and goes straight down the middle to the Alps in the south, with a stopover in Austria’s Salzburg.
Timetables and the complete network maps are available online.
Taking your car along
Some train lines, such as Train4you, let passengers bring their vehicles along for the ride, saving on mileage and allowing travelers more freedom once they arrive at their destination.
They offer car trains as well as night trains in many large cities, including Hamburg, Basel, Vienna and Verona. Tickets are priced based on occupancy, but can start at around $120.
When the nights in Scandinavia are bright and short, the Snalltaget rolls through northern Germany, Denmark and Sweden, transporting guests across several Danish cities until it reaches Stockholm.
According to the Snalltaget website, there are departures scheduled daily between June 28 and Sept. 5, and additional departures will be on the schedule throughout October. Tickets can be bought online too.
Cultural capitals in Italy and France
From la belle vie to la dolce vita, it’s possible to enjoy everything the cities of France and Italy have to offer on a night train run by Thello. Starting in Paris and ending in Venice, the train stops in famous hubs such as Dijon, Milan, Brescia and Padua, among others.
National night trains
If you prefer to pick a country and stick with it, many national railways offer night trains within their own borders. In Finland, for example, the government-owned, VR trains, run overnight. One of the most popular connections is up to Rovaniemi in Lapland, where according to legend, Santa Claus has his home.